UPDATE 12. June 2020: Indigenous Chief battered by brutal RCMP in Canada. DISMANTLE THE RCMP !!! The 'Royal' Canadian Mounted Police - dubbed 'Inegiqwans' (the ones who capture in Indigenous language) - now MUST LEAVE any and all Indigenous lands, First Nation states and unceded Indigenous territories immediately and for all times! Time for reconciliation is over - it's the time for reconstitution, reparations and respect.
PROLOGUE: Urge your govenment and the UN Ambassadors to vote NO and against Canada’s bid for Security Council seat. (See CAMPAIGN underneath). #NoUNSC4Canada
RCMP violence against Inuit happening because few are stopping systemic racism, Indigenous leaders say
Some say over-criminalization continues when judges, prosecutors don't try to understand personal experiences
By Thomas Rohner - 10. June 2020
To address the systemic racism against Indigenous people shown by police forces such as the RCMP, Canadian leaders need to look at how different government agencies contribute to that racism, say some Indigenous leaders.
Those leaders spoke to CBC News in response to more than 30 cases of alleged mistreatment of Inuit women by the RCMP. The cases were compiled by the Legal Services Board of Nunavut, which alleges widespread racism and abuse of Inuit, especially women, across the territory.
The board has called on the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC) for a territory-wide review of policing.
Aluki Kotierk, the elected leader of Nunavut Inuit, is one of the people calling for a review. This issue hits close to home, she said. The recent death of a man in Clyde River during an encounter with an officer who discharged their firearm reminded Kotierk of her late uncle, Solomon Uyarasuk, who died in police custody in 2012.
Kotierk said the coroner's inquest into her uncle's death left her with doubts and anger, in part because the Ottawa police investigated the death on behalf of the RCMP. Such investigations of police investigating police lack independence and therefore credibility, she said.
"It probably will always exist in my life, in terms of my own distrust of the system. But I also know that I'm not alone in those feelings of anger and distrust," Kotierk said.
Building people up rather than criminalizing them
Kotierk said an examination of the bigger picture beyond the RCMP is needed to understand the high rates of violence and officer-involved deaths in the territory.
"There needs to be a more holistic discussion about all of the different ways in which public agencies are able to work together to build up Inuit so that we can actually achieve what we set out to achieve in the creation of Nunavut."
The legacy of colonization of the Inuit has left many feeling devalued, voiceless and overwhelmed to the point where some turn to violence, Kotierk said.
To address that violence, leaders and government agencies need to look at an individual's life and experiences before the violence itself, she said.
"That [way], we're building people up again, rather than criminalizing people. It starts feeling as though by being born an Inuk, your life is worth less than others."
'Entire system works against Native people'
The over-criminalization of Indigenous people in Canada has been a direct result of racism for generations, Pam Palmater, a lawyer and professor of Mi'kmaq descent who lives in Toronto, told CBC News.
Indigenous people are overcharged by police and are grossly overrepresented in jails, but the police can't be responsible for that on their own, she said.
Palmater said multiple public inquiries and commissions over the years have shown that prosecutors request longer sentences for Indigenous defendants, and once in the corrections system, Indigenous prisoners have less access to parole and rehabilitation programs than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
"The entire system works against Native people," she said.
The Supreme Court of Canada's 1999 Gladue decision was meant, in part, to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders in jails, but it hasn't had that effect, Palmater said.
Judges are part of that bias against Indigenous people, she said.
While they are not allowed to interfere politically or make public comments on cases they've ruled on, they can comment when they are adjudicating cases and could use that opportunity to alert governments to systemic injustices, Palmater said, especially at the Supreme Court level.
"Without justices making those kinds of comments or condemning it more forcefully, then governments will think that they can continue to allow it to happen. And then, of course, police unions will continue to back up this bad behaviour."
Gendered, racialized violence also within RCMP
The CRCC released a report in 2017 detailing abuse and sexual harassment experienced by its own female members.
"If they would treat their own members ... in an intimidating, bullying, harassing way ... imagine what they would do to people without that power, who are oppressed, dispossessed, marginalized and living literally at the edge of society," Palmater said.
The Department of National Defence has had its own issues around sexual harassment and gender discrimination, Palmater said. Last year, the Federal Court approved a $900-million settlement for members of the military and employees of the department who were victims of sexual assault and misconduct.
"When you don't address the problems of toxic male sexualized and racialized violence against females ... this is going to be allowed to continue," Palmater said.
Read the other stories in this series:
The inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls concluded that a racialized and gendered genocide is happening against Indigenous women across Canada.
That genocide, Palmater said, requires the implicit co-operation of institutions across government agencies and their collective inability to address gendered racism.
Palmater said she has heard reports from across the country of Indigenous people who have been arrested and charged but were then abused by police and had their charges dropped by Crown prosecutors before the police abuse is aired in open court.
But the Public Prosecution Service of Canada does not collect data that would confirm these experiences, she said.
"If we had data, we could argue just how prevalent it is," she said. "And we could also hold the Crown to account because if they are aware of police excessive use of force ... then you would think they would have a legal obligation to ... actually go after the police officers that are involved and make sure they are properly dealt with."
Data needed so leaders can't deny problem exists: Palmater
Collecting meaningful data is one of the two biggest barriers to addressing systemic racism against Indigenous people, Palmater said.
The other big obstacle, she said, is political will and leadership.
Human rights organizations and international watchdogs have told the Canadian government for years that it needs to collect racialized and gendered data in order to address the systemic violence against Indigenous women, Palmater said.
Most recently, the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women issued a report that highlighted this lack of data in Canada and called for action, she said.
"If governments don't collect data, they can deny that a problem exists."
Political will and leadership could make it mandatory for government agencies —such as the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP — to collect meaningful data, Palmater said.
But so far, that leadership and will have been lacking, she said.
"We know Indigenous women are going missing and murdered," she said. "They're exploited sexually; they're victims of domestic violence. And If you fail to act, you're just as guilty."
Palmater said she and other advocates have been bringing this to the attention of governments for years — and before them, others tried.
"We know the whole system is infected with racism, and we are not tackling it — and it's Indigenous women and girls that suffer, as well as Indigenous men and boys."
Inuit women in Nunavut suffer 'unnecessary violence,' racism from RCMP, legal aid board says
Details from more than 30 cases described in 2 letters to RCMP complaints commission
By Thomas Rohner - 08.
Inuit in Nunavut, especially women, suffer systemic police abuse, including excessive violence and persistent racism, according to the territory's legal aid agency.
The Legal Services Board of Nunavut says it has "significant concerns" about the quality of policing and conduct of officers as reported by its Inuit clients in Nunavut's 25 communities.
The board is calling for a systemic review of policing in Nunavut.
The allegations include "repeated and systematic instances of unnecessary violence," and a lack of oversight and training specific to Inuit culture.
"There appears to be a particular pattern of poor service when it comes to women in domestic and sexual assault matters," the board's CEO, Benson Cowan, wrote in a letter dated June 13, 2019, addressed to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC).
CBC News was provided a copy of the letter and a followup letter, both obtained by a freelance journalist under Access to Information legislation.
- Read the Legal Services Board of Nunavut's June 13, 2019, letter
- Read the Legal Services Board of Nunavut's followup letter on Jan. 23, 2020
- Read the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP's response
The second letter, dated Jan. 23, 2020, describes the "humiliating and degrading" experience of two women strip-searched by RCMP officers in Nunavut.
Both letters call on the commission to initiate a full, systemic review of policing across the territory.
"The systemic nature of such conduct is so pervasive that only a broad review would be effective for understanding the true scope and character of the problem ... and in identifying solutions," Cowan wrote in the first letter from last June.
"It is imperative that some effort is made to improve the quality of the police services provided by the RCMP and their relationship with the communities."
Trying to better understand concerns: CRCC
Both the RCMP and the CRCC declined CBC's interview requests for this story.
In a letter to the legal services board in March, the CRCC said it "remained committed to conducting a systemic review of RCMP policing activities in Nunavut."
But in an email to CBC News, Cowan said that was the first he'd heard of the commission's commitment.
"When we met in June , we discussed the options for reviews. But this is the only time they have said they are committed to do so," Cowan wrote.
"While the CRCC continues to work toward identifying specific RCMP activities in Nunavut that could be examined, present travel restrictions have led to the postponement of meetings planned for this spring," wrote Kate McDerby, director of communications.
The RCMP said in an email to CBC it would be "premature … to discuss the content" of the board's allegations "until the CRCC has made the decision to launch or not" a systemic investigation.
Allegations from more than 30 cases
The allegations in the Legal Services Board of Nunavut's letters include 32 cases from across the territory. The board says the cases are from the past few years and cover "a small fraction of the occurrences" but "provide an accurate picture of the nature of the issues with RCMP policing across Nunavut."
The allegations are listed under eight categories:
- Inadequate response to domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Handling of female victims and accused.
- Strip-searching of women in Nunavut.
- Systemic violence.
- Warrantless entries into homes.
- Failure to provide medical attention.
- Racism and cultural insensitivity.
In one case, the board says, a young Inuk woman attended a detachment to lodge a sexual assault complaint.
"Instead of taking her statement, the RCMP charged her with breaching her own [parole] conditions," the board wrote.
Women who called in fear of domestic violence and sexual assault "often reported" they had to wait "excessive amounts of time … that the matter was not a sufficient emergency … or … told to stop calling the police," one letter said.
In another case, the board says, police attended a sexual assault involving full penetration in progress. Police arrested the accused while the victim was allegedly "left unclothed" and "was not offered any assistance including not taken to the health centre."
In some cases, the complainants who called for help were themselves arrested and charged, some after an illegal search of their home, the board says.
Degrading strip searches
Other cases described what the board says were illegal and degrading strip searches.
In one instance, a prisoner alleged she was pinned to the cell floor and forcibly stripped by three male officers.
"Eventually she crawled to the cell door and passed out naked in the fetal position," the letter says.
In another case, a male RCMP member forcibly removed the underwear of a 19-year-old woman in a cell, the Legal Services Board alleges.
According to information from one woman's lawyer, provided to CBC News by a freelance journalist who now works for the broadcaster, the woman was strip-searched and tied naked to a restraint chair for two hours.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in a landmark 2001 decision, said strip searches are inherently degrading and humiliating. Officers must take extra care to ensure they are done appropriately and in line with Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
That includes ensuring officers involved in the strip search are of the same gender as the prisoner.
Paul McKenna, an expert in good policing practices with more than 30 years of experience, told CBC News illegal strip searches are an issue across the country.
"It's not a show — it's a process and procedure," he said. "If we're looking at trying to maintain human dignity, there's a clear exclusion of different-sex officers on the scene" for a strip search.
The CRCC told the CBC it was finalizing its report on a national review of strip searches, a recommendation that came out of a 2017 investigation of policing in northern B.C.
'Racialized violence is a genocide'
Other cases cited in the board's letters described allegations of excessive force.
In one case, a male officer allegedly grabbed a female prisoner by the head and pushed her to the ground with such force he appeared to be left with some of the woman's hair in his hands.
The legal services board also references three coroner inquests into police-related deaths in Nunavut, citing the fact that Nunavut's rate of police-related deaths since 1999 is nine times higher than Ontario's.
Gendered and racialized violence is a genocide ... woven into the fabric of Canadian society.
- Pauktuutit Inuit Women's Association
The recommendations from those inquests "for the most part, have been ignored," Cowan wrote.
Many of the allegations made by the board are echoed in the Pauktuutit Inuit Women's Association report, Addressing Gendered Violence Against Inuit Women, released in January.
"Gendered violence against Inuit women is a problem of massive proportions. Women in Nunavut are the victims of violent crime at a rate more than 13 times higher than the rate for women in Canada as a whole," the report says.
The rate of police-reported family violence against women in Nunavut is the highest in Canada — 11 times higher than the national average, the report says.
Women interviewed for the report complained of slow police response times, and said they have a lack of faith and trust in policing.
The countrywide mistreatment of Indigenous women by various institutions and levels of government is rooted in Canada's colonial history, the Pauktuutit report says.
"As the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has emphasized, this gendered and racialized violence is a genocide that is rooted in systemic factors woven into the fabric of Canadian society."
Thomas Rohner is a reporter based in Iqaluit, where he's lived for nearly six years. His special interests as a journalist include the criminal justice system and investigative reporting.
Where to get help:
If you've experienced trauma and need to talk about it, find some resources below.
- Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line — 1-800-265-3333
- Embrace Life Council
- Kids Help Phone — 1-800-668-6868 or live chat counselling online
- Hope for Wellness Help Line — 1-855-242-3310
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service
- Toll-free 1-833-456-4566
- Text: 45645
- Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca
- In French: Association québécoise de prévention du suicide — 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
- Indian Residential School Resolution Health Support Program, Northern Region — 1-800-464-8106
- Complaints of police mistreatment of Indigenous people led to no disciplinary action
- Quebec should apologize for systemic discrimination in treatment of Indigenous people, Viens report says
- Separate policing services would not solve Indigenous-Crown tensions on their own, critics say
- Man in violent Nunavut arrest video wants officer charged
- Nunavut leaders calling for systematic review of RCMP service in the territory
- 'The trust has been shaken': N.W.T. premier, MP say RCMP need to rebuild relationship with public
- RCMP burnout may be adding to Nunavut policing problems, says territory's top cop
Environmentalists tend to be well-meaning, forward-thinking people who believe in preserving the planet for generations to come. They will buy reusable cups, wear ethically made clothing and advocate for endangered species; however, many are hesitant to do the same for endangered Black lives, and might be unclear on why they should.
As a Black environmentalist, I’ve struggled with this. Why is fighting for my humanity considered an optional or special add-on to climate justice? I’ve stood beside white environmentalists during climate protests, but I’ve felt abandoned by my community during acts of unjustifiable violence toward Black and Brown people. I’ve had enough. The time is now to examine the ways the Black Lives Matter movement and environmentalism are linked.
Spending time in nature during the Ferguson uprisings helped me process the trauma of what was happening back home, yet I felt guilty at the same time. While I was at the beach or hiking, my family and friends were back home dodging tear gas during protests to fight for my civil rights. Why was I entitled to clean air, water, and abundant nature in Orange County when communities like Ferguson around the country were not, both during times of unrest and beyond?During the summer of 2014 I was on break from college in my hometown of Florissant, Missouri, when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was shot at least six times by a police officer before dying in the street just a few miles from my house. His body lay there uncovered for hours as the community tried to piece together what happened without communication from authorities. Tension boiled over, and uprisings followed. Then I had to go back to Southern California to continue on with my environmental science and policy degree.
Every time I took a deep breath outside, I thought about Eric Garner’s final few words, echoed recently by George Floyd: “I can’t breathe.” In my environmental science classes—where I was often met with confusion when I tried my best to advocate for the protection of people of color—I was shocked to find the very clear data that communities of color have been most exposed to poor air quality and environmental conditions. I realized my work could directly contribute to the fight against racism.
In a 2018 study on air quality published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that “non-whites had 1.28 times higher burden” and that Black residents “had 1.54 higher burden than did the overall population” of exposure to particulate matter. (Particulate matter is a combination of solid and liquid particles in the air; when these small particles are inhaled they can infiltrate your lungs and bloodstream and cause serious illness.) Previous studies have also linked the disproportionate exposure to poor air quality and racial demographics. A 2016 Environmental International study found higher exposure to particulate matter in certain communities of color. In addition to poorer air quality, fracking waste sitesare also more likely to be found in neighborhoods of color, which can degrade water quality.
When discussing climate change and the increasing frequency of natural disasters, Georgiana Bostean, an assistant professor of environmental science, health and policy at Chapman University confirms, “The impacts are not borne equally by all populations.” During Hurricane Katrina, the worst damage was found in “predominantly Black neighborhoods, yet the relief was far slower and inadequate compared with that provided in predominantly white and higher-income neighborhoods, despite those being less impacted.”
These disparities are leading to both health and environmental crises that fall along racial lines in communities across the United States. The systems of oppression that have led to the deaths of so many Black people were the same systems that perpetuated environmental injustice. This realization pointed me to the term “intersectional environmentalism,” and compelled me to introduce it into environmentalist dialogue—to spark conversation and mobilize the environmental community to be anti-racist and not complicit.
Intersectional environmentalism is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.
The longer racism is not addressed, the harder it will be to save the planet, in part because Black activists’ time and energy are being drained. Inclusive climate justice activist Mikaela Loach notes that allies should “step up, so Black folks have the time and energy to invest in creating climate solutions” instead of using our energy to “explain [our] existence to other people” in predominantly white environmentalist spaces.
Every environmentalist needs to hold themselves accountable and do the inner anti-racism work to achieve both climate and social justice. Take the Intersectional Environmentalist Pledge to learn more about what steps you can take, read Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry by Camille T. Dungy, and listen to The Yikes Podcast. (Just a few examples of my favorite resources and inspiration, to start.) We must move forward and push for intersectional environmentalism to save the planet, and Black lives.
Understanding Aboriginal Identity
•May 1, 2015
Understanding Aboriginal Identity explores the complex issue of self-identification for Aboriginal people. Today, Aboriginal identity remains inextricably linked with past government legislation and the continued stereotyping of Aboriginal people in the media and Canadian history. From a Metis farm in rural Alberta to the offices of Canada’s leading scholars, Understanding Aboriginal Identity examines the factors that shape who we are.
To order a copy of this video, contact us at .
Music in this video
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Canada reels from brutal arrest of indigenous chief
The prime minister has acknowledged that "this is not an isolated incident" amid mounting pressure in North America to deal with racial injustice. A top police official had to walk back comments about systemic racism.
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday described a video showing officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arresting an indigenous chief as "shocking."
In the dashcam footage, an officer is seen tackling Chief Allan Adam and punching him in the face during a stop for an expired license plate. The altercation initially started when one officer put handcuffs on Adam's wife outside of a casino in Alberta province.
This March 10, 2020, photo shows Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam after a confrontation with Canadian police
Brian Beresh, a lawyer representing Adam, said he has filed a motion to have the charges dropped against his client, saying his constitutional rights were violated.
"All of this resulted from an expired license plate tag," said Beresh. "The video speaks for itself."
Trudeau called for an independent probe to determine whether excessive force was used during the incident.
"Like many people, I have serious questions about what happened," said Trudeau during a press briefing. "The independent investigation must be carried out so that we get answers."
'Not an isolated incident'
The video footage was released on the heels of US protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death. Many Canadians had protested in solidarity with the movement, and Trudeau said Canadian institutions also struggle with systemic racism.
"We know that this is not an isolated incident," said Trudeau. "Far too many black Canadians and indigenous people do not feel safe around police. It's unacceptable. And as governments, we have to change that."
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on Friday apologized for failing to acknowledge earlier that "systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included." She had earlier balked at the remark first said by Trudeau last week.
"I struggled with the definition of systemic racism, while trying to highlight the great work done by the overwhelming majority of our employees," Lucki said. "I did not say definitely that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have."
Canadian PM Trudeau says police video of aboriginal chief arrest shocking
•Jun 13, 2020
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that black and indigenous people in Canada do not feel safe around police after a police dashcam video emerged of the violent arrest of a Canadian aboriginal chief. The arrest has received attention in Canada as a backlash against racism grows worldwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck.
Story at a glance
- A chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation was arrested after being stopped for an expired license plate.
- Dashcam video shows police forcing Chief Allan Adam to the ground, with his wife and another family member in the vehicle.
- An independent investigative unit is looking into the arrest, according to Canadian officials.
George Floyd’s death has brought attention to police using force against black and indigenous people of color not only in the United States, but across the border in Canada. Police dashcam video of the violent arrest of Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has raised an outcry from protesters.
At 2 a.m. on March 10, the Wood Buffalo Royal Canadian Mounted Police stopped Adam over an expired license plate, according to a police report. The report mentions the video and says it was reviewed by superiors, who “determined that the members' actions were reasonable and did not meet the threshold for an external investigation.”
The nearly 12-minute video shows Adam leaving his vehicle parked in front of Boomtown Casino in Fort McMurray, which recently reopened after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. He approaches a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and, in an off-camera discussion, can be heard telling an officer that he wants him to tell his superiors that he is “tired of being harassed by the RCMP.”
He is told to return to the truck, which he does, after which his wife steps out of the vehicle. A police officer can be seen grabbing and twisting her arm, at which point Adam intervenes. Sirens from another police vehicle can be heard before another officer runs into view, knocking Adam over by his neck and punching him as he lies on the ground, yelling "don't resist." A photo of Adam taken after the arrest shows one of his cheeks badly bruised and his face is swollen and bloodied.
"What happened to me is not unusual or shocking. This happens every day to black, brown, low income and indigenous people across Canada,” Adam said in a statement. “Despite only representing 5 percent of the population, Indigenous Canadians make up over 30 percent of the prison population here. Structural racism, out of date policing methods and the diminished socio-economic status of Indigenous Canadians means that we rarely have a fighting change in our judicial and policing system.”
Adam is facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer and has said he will be pursuing civil action against the police department. A GoFundMe pagepinned to the tribe’s Twitter account is collecting donations toward his legal expenses.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said in a Tweet on June 7 that there would be an independent investigation of the incident. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, established in 2008 as an independent police oversight unit, is now investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
“I will never defend the indefensible and where someone appears to exceed their authority or use excessive force or act in a discriminatory way, that individual needs to be held accountable,” Blair said during a press conference carried on CBC News. “As a government and a country we need to look at all of the conditions that give rise to social injustice in our country and do a better job.”
On June 5, days before the video was released, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki released a statement addressing the death of George Floyd and ensuing protests.
"I have shared a clear message with all employees of the RCMP: We are here for everyone. No matter what they look like, sound like, or where they come from. We have a shared responsibility to advocate for dignity and practice respect for all. There is no room for racism — or any other kind of discrimination — in Canada's RCMP. Those attitudes, and the actions they lead to, drag down every employee in this profession who is working hard to keep their communities safe and give Canadians the police service they deserve," Lucki said.
The former Toronto chief of police, Blair pushed back against demands to defund police departments, saying, "it's not a zero-sum discussion."
At a news conference on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged systemic racism in the country’s law enforcement systems.
“Systemic racism is an issue right across the country, in all of our institutions, including in all of our police forces, including in the RCMP. Recognizing that is difficult and we need to make sure that we are moving forward in really meaningful ways and that is also going to be difficult,” he said.
TORONTO — The police dash cam video shows the Indigenous chief being held by one police officer and tackled to the ground by another, punched in the head and put in a chokehold.
His face is bleeding as he is led in handcuffs to the police cruiser.
The video, submitted to the courts on Thursday and broadcast by many news channels, horrified many Canadians, and added fuel to the already raging debate over systemic racism in police forces across Canada.
While allegations of police abuse against black and Indigenous Canadians have been made for decades, the gruesome death of George Floyd in the United States has caused what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called “an awakening” and spurred large anti-racism marches across the country.
Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in northern Alberta, was stopped by the police in Fort McMurray in March about an expired license plate. After a sometimes heated 12-minute exchange, he was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. But many believe the police video shows he was the real victim.
“It is unacceptable,” Mr. Trudeau said on Friday, calling the video “shocking.”
“Everyone who has seen that video has serious questions,” Mr. Trudeau added, referring to the use of force by police. He called for an independent and transparent investigation into the episode.
Initially, the Alberta police said superiors reviewing the dash cam video had deemed the officers’ actions “reasonable” and did not warrant an external investigation.
But after Mr. Adam held a news conference last Saturday, during which he released two bystander videos taken during the arrest, the independent Alberta agency that investigates police episodes involving death or potential misconduct announced it was looking into the case.
Canadian Indigenous leaders have long advocated reform of the national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which also provides local policing in many provinces.
While most of the recent marches in Canada have focused on police brutality against black Canadians, they have also included complaints about systemic criminalization of the country’s Indigenous people who make up 5 percent of the population, and more than 30 percent of the prison inmates.
The police video involving Mr. Adam was taken early one morning in March, after he, his wife and a niece left a casino in Fort McMurry in Alberta. The police vehicle pulled up behind the truck driven by Mr. Adam’s wife.
Mr. Adam is captured on the video approaching the police car and demanding to know why the officer was watching them.
“I’m tired of being harassed by the R.C.M.P.,” he says angrily. He is told to get back in his vehicle, but remains outside, staring at the police car.
The situation escalates when a police officer moves to handcuff his wife, against the side of their truck. Mr. Adam shouts, “Leave my wife alone” and “you have no right.”
After the situation is calmed again, with both Mr. Adam and his wife back in their vehicle, sirens announce the arrival of more police. Mr. Adam steps back out of his truck, when the officer tries to handcuff him.
Then, another officer bursts onto the scene and tackles him. He is captured punching Mr. Adam in the head while screaming “don’t resist.”
Mr. Adam yells, “I’m not resisting” and “Look, I’m bleeding.” He tells the officers again that he is a chief.
Photos taken at the police station and submitted to court on Thursday show his face swollen and bloody, and his lips cut. Four of his teeth were pushed back and need replacement, and because the police officer knelt on his neck, Mr. Adam has continued neck pain, his lawyer, Brian A. Beresh, said.
Mr. Adam’s wife, Freda Courtoreille, was arrested after her husband, once seven officers surrounded their car. But she was never charged and released on the scene, Mr. Beresh said. “You can’t arrest someone for having an expired sticker on their license,” he said.
Mr. Beresh is calling for the suspension of Constable Simon Seguin, the officer who, according to police notes filed in court, was the officer who tackled Mr. Adam.
“He came in like a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders tackle unit,” said Mr. Beresh, referring to the Regina football team.
“He doesn’t ask the other officer what’s going on,” he said. “He comes in and trashes him. Then to start punching him without asking any questions.”
“Surely, this is not what ‘to serve and protect’ is all about,” he added, referring to the force’s motto.
“Enough is enough,” said Mr. Adam, at his news conference last Saturday.
He has been chief of the first nation in northern Alberta for more than a dozen years and is a survivor of one of Canada’s residential schools, notorious for abusing Indigenous children, and found by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be part of a practice of “cultural genocide.
Mr. Adam said at the news conference that he wanted to be a voice for all those who had experienced violence at the hands of the police because of their race. He added that the long history of wrongful arrests and harassment by the authorities of Indigenous Canadians and other minorities “ends today.”
Mr. Trudeau, who took a knee at last week’s anti-racism protest in Ottawa, said this week that “systemic racism is an issue right across the country, in all of our institutions, including in all of our police forces.”
On Friday, the police commissioner, Brenda Lucki, acknowledged that systemic racism is a problem in the R.C.M.P. “Throughout our history and today, we have not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly,” Ms. Lucki said in a statement.
Ms. Lucki said this week that the force will roll out the use of body cameras, which Mr. Trudeau supports.
She has also vowed to review the force’s use of the neckhold restraint used by police officers, even as she cautioned that the use of force by police was sometimes necessary.
In recent weeks, two other episodes between Indigenous people and the police have horrified Canadians. One was a bystander’s video of a police officer striking an intoxicated young man in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, with his car door before arresting him.
In another case, Chantel Moore, 26, from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, was shot by the police in New Brunswick in early June after they responded to a call asking that they check on her well being.
The police in Edmundston, where the killing took place, said that Ms. Moore left her apartment with a knife and that the officer shot her after she threatened the officer.
But family members have challenged that account, and Canada’s Indigenous services minister, Marc Miller, said he was outragedand demanded a “full accounting.”
The video involving Mr. Adam provoked reaction across the political spectrum in Canada.
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter: “This is what police brutality looks like. This is what conflict escalation looks like. This is what systemic racism toward Indigenous people looks like. And it needs to end.”
Andrew Scheer, the Conservative party leader, wrote on Twitter that he was “deeply disturbed by the video of Chief Adam.” He added: “This case is rightly being investigated. Excessive use of force by police is always wrong.”
Alberta’s premier, Jason Kenney, wrote on Twitter that in the province there would be “a focus on measures to combat racism & ensure equal protection of all before the law.”
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, which represents 634 reserves in Canada, said, “Excessive use of force is shocking and horrifying and I see that police in Canada tend to approach our people and black people with fear and malice and it is deeply seated and systemic.”
He called for the police to hire and promote more Indigenous people on the police force and for a more widespread use of police body cameras.
Catherine Porter is the Canada bureau chief, based in Toronto. Before she joined the Times in 2017, she was a columnist and feature writer for The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper. @porterthereport
Dan Bilefsky is a Canada correspondent for The New York Times, based in Montreal. He was previously based in London, Paris, Prague and New York. He is author of the book "The Last Job," about a gang of aging English thieves called "The Bad Grandpas." @DanBilefsky
A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 12 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Shocking’: Police Video of Arrest of Indigenous Leader Rattles Canada.
Canada indigenous chief battered during arrest12. June 2020
Video of an indigenous chief's violent arrest has shocked Canada, turning a spotlight on systemic racism in the country's police force.
The footage shows Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam being floored and repeatedly punched by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
The confrontation took place in Fort McMurray, Alberta, on 10 March.
Protests demanding police reform have spread across Canada recently after spilling over from the US.
Although RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki initially said she "can't say for sure" whether systemic racism is a problem with the police, on Friday afternoon she released a statement saying "systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included".
"Throughout our history and today, we have not always treated racialised and Indigenous people fairly," she wrote.
What does the video show?
Before the public release of the footage on Thursday night, the local RCMP division said they had reviewed it and found the officer's actions "reasonable".
The incident begins when an RCMP officer approaches Mr Adam and his wife over an expired licence plate.
The nearly 12-minute long video, recorded by a dashcam from the RCMP officer's vehicle parked behind Mr Adam's lorry in a casino car park, begins with Mr Adam having a heated and profanity-laden discussion with the officer.
FULL CLIP: The arrest of Chief Allan Adam
"I'm tired of being harassed by the RCMP," he says.
Mr Adam and the officer continue to have a heated argument. At about the 4:45 mark, the officer tries to arrest his wife, twisting her arm behind her back until she says: "Ow!"
That is when Mr Adam gets out again, shouting: "Leave my wife alone!" He pushes the officer away. Everyone gets back in the vehicle.
Backup is called, and Mr Adam gets out of the lorry. The officer begins to arrest him, and Mr Adam says "don't touch me", using an expletive. That is when a second officer runs at him full speed, knocks him down, and repeatedly punches him while shouting: "Don't resist."
The incident is being investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which oversees incidents involving police where someone is hurt.
What do Allan Adam and his lawyer say?
Mr Adam told Canadian media: "Because we are a minority and nobody speaks up for us, everytime our people do wrong and the RCMP go and make their call, they always seem to use excessive force.
"And that has to stop. And enough is enough."
Mr Adam's lawyer Brian Beresh wants his client's charges, which include assaulting an officer and resisting arrest, to be dropped. Mr Adam is next due in court on 2 July.
Mr Beresh has practised law for 44 years, and says police violence against indigenous people has been a constant issue.
"I've seen this from the first day I've started to practise," he told the BBC.
"I'd like there to be some positive action taken by the RCMP, in terms of how they can prevent this from happening again. If this can happen with my client who's a respected chief, what about the First Nations person who is living on the street, who doesn't have my client's standing?"
The final straw
Analysis by Robin Levinson King, BBC News, Toronto
This video comes not so much as a surprise, but as a final straw to those who have for years been demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality.
Over the past two weeks, thousands of Canadians have marched in mostly peaceful protests held in cities across the country for the Black Lives Matter movement. While the protests may have been sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US, the Canadians marching have been clear to say that systemic racism is not just an American problem.
In addition to Mr Adam's arrest, the recent deaths in police custody of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black woman in Toronto, and Chantel Moore, an indigenous woman New Brunswick, have become touchstones in the wider discussion about race and policing in Canada, which has included calls to defund police.
Although Canada is often praised for its politeness and multiculturalism, especially in comparison to the US, it has its own legacy of violence and oppression of indigenous and black people to contend with - a legacy which continues to have ramifications today.
While only 5% of the population is indigenous, indigenous people make up about a third of the prison population. Last November, the Globe and Mail published an analysis that showed that indigenous people made up a third of deaths in police custody.
While most Canadian police forces do not track race-based data, media reports find that black Canadians are also more likely be stopped by police and experience police violence.
What is the political reaction?
Calls for an end to racial injustice are gaining traction. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he has "serious questions" after watching the video.
"We have all now seen the shocking video of Chief Adam's arrest and we must get to the bottom of this," he said.
Last week, he marched in a Black Lives Matter protest and has said Canada has a problem with systemic racism "in all our institutions, including in all our police forces, including in the RCMP".
But Mr Trudeau also faces serious criticism both personally and politically, especially after photos surfaced during last autumn's election campaign of him in black face.
He has also been under scrutiny for not making greater strides at indigenous reconciliation.
Last year, a government report into murdered and missing indigenous women found that Canada was complicit in "race-based genocide" against indigenous women. Many of the report's recommendations have yet to be implemented.
Indigenous Groups in Canada
Trudeau: Video of Violent Arrest of Canadian Aboriginal Chief Is ’Shocking’
•Jun 13, 2020
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that police dashcam video of the violent arrest of a Canadian aboriginal chief is "shocking" and said black Canadians and indigenous people do not feel safe around police.
The arrest has received attention in Canada as a backlash against racism grows worldwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck The 12-minute police video shows an officer charging at Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam with his arm and elbow up as he tackles him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching him in the head. "I have serious questions about what happened," Trudeau said to reporters Friday. "The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers. At the same time, though, we also know that this is not an isolated incident. Far too many black Canadians and indigenous people do not feel safe around police. It's unacceptable. And as governments, we have to change that."
Pictures show Adam was left bloodied with his face swollen. Alberta's police watchdog agency is investigating. Police charged Adam with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police dash camera video was released publicly as part of a court application to get criminal charges against Adam removed. The video earlier shows a different officer approaching Adam's truck outside a casino in Fort McMurray, Alberta, early on the morning of March 10. Police have said Adam's truck had expired plates. The video shows Adam getting in and out of the vehicle, removing his coat and taking a karate-like stance and using expletives as he complains about being harassed by police. His wife and niece get in in between him and the officer at times. Adam's lawyer, Brian Beresh, has filed a court motion to have criminal charges dropped over violation of Adam's constitutional rights. Trudeau has said the issue of systemic racism in policing is longstanding and needs addressing.
Indigenous Services Minister outraged at police violence against Indigenous peoples of Canada
•Jun 5, 2020
Canadian Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said on Friday he watched "in disgust" a graphic video of an RCMP officer in Nunavut ramming the door of his car into an Inuk man walking along the road in Kinngait Monday evening. Miller said he believes "a car door is not a proper police tactic. It's a disgraceful, dehumanizing and violent act."
These comments from the Indigenous Services Minister come after several similar incidents by police officers against Indigenous people in Canada, including the recent death of a 26-year-old woman from British Columbia who died after being shot by police in Edmundston, N.B., on Thursday. Miller called for a full investigation into those acts because "this is a pattern that keeps repeating itself."
The minister added that the police serve Canadians and Indigenous peoples of Canada "and not the opposite, and this is a thing we need to recognize as a society as we look south to the disgraceful acts occurring down there," referring to some violent actions taken by police and authorities in the U.S. in response to days of peaceful and violent protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
BUT in Canada NEVER anything happens pro Indigenous peoples and First Nations!
Only words - and repeated words over years, but NEVER any action to chance the racist settler government behaviour.
High Indigenous prison rate in Canada ‘unacceptable’: Chief justice
•Jun 23, 2018
The chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada says over-representation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons is a “terrible situation.” Richard Wagner says the courts have a responsibility to address the issue. (June 22, 2018)
Letter to United Nations Ambassadors urging member states to vote no to Canada's bid for United Nations Security Council
Take 2 minutes to let all United Nation Ambassadors know you join with civil society from around the world in criticizing Canada's anti-Palestinian record, and urge them to vote no to Canada in the upcoming bid for the 'Western Europe and Others' seat on the UN Security Council.
An open letter signed by more than a hundred organizations and dozens of prominent individuals was delivered to all UN ambassadors asking them to choose Ireland and Norway instead of Canada for the two available seats.
The letter criticizing Canada's anti-Palestinian record, has been endorsed by more than a hundred organizations, including Sabeel Jerusalem, Kairos Palestine, American Muslims for Palestine, CUPW, Canadian Arab Federation, Independent Jewish Voices. Over 300 academics, artists and activists - including Ken Loach, Bruce Cockburn, Roger Waters, Naim Ateek, Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, John Dugard, Ruba Ghazal - have also backed the appeal that argues Canada has isolated itself against the world on Palestinian rights at the UN.
Since 2000 Canada has voted against 166 UN General Assembly resolutions critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Ireland and Norway haven't voted against a single one of these resolutions. Additionally, Ireland and Norway have voted yes 251 and 249 times respectively on resolutions related to Palestinian rights during this period. Canada has managed 87 yes votes, but only two since 2010.
Please be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to SEND A LETTER TO ALL UN AMBASSADORS.
100+ organizations and dozens of prominent individuals urge countries to vote against Canada’s bid for Security Council seat due to anti-Palestinian positions
Today, June 1, 2020, an open letter signed by an impressive list of organizations and individuals will be delivered to all UN ambassadors asking them to vote for Ireland and Norway instead of Canada for two seats soon to be available on the Security Council.
Criticizing Canada’s anti-Palestinian record, the letter has been endorsed by 100+ organizations, including Sabeel Jerusalem, Kairos Palestine, American Muslims for Palestine, CUPW, Canadian Arab Federation, Independent Jewish Voices . Nearly 200 academics, artists and activists – including Ken Loach, Bruce Cockburn, Roger Waters, Naim Ateek, Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, John Dugard, Ruba Ghazal – have also backed an appeal that points out how Canada has isolated itself against the world on Palestinian rights at the UN.
Since 2000 Canada has voted against 166 UN General Assembly resolutions critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Ireland and Norway haven’t voted against a single one of these resolutions. Additionally, Ireland and Norway have voted yes 251 and 249 times respectively on resolutions related to Palestinian rights during this period. Canada has managed 87 yes votes, but only two since 2010.
“The letter is seeking to pull at the heartstrings of the individuals who cast the secret ballots for the Security Council seat”, said Karen Rodman of Just Peace Advocates. “We want to remind UN ambassadors that Canada has consistently isolated itself against world opinion when it comes to the long-suffering Palestinians.”
Prior to the vote set for June 17, the letter will serve as a springboard for a multi-pronged Twitter campaign targeting UN ambassadors as well as some foreign ministers and diplomatic missions in Ottawa.
The letter is seeking to pull at the heartstrings of the individuals who cast the secret ballots for the Security Council seat.
We want to remind UN ambassadors that Canada has consistently isolated itself against world opinion when it comes to the long-suffering Palestinians.
Karen Rodman, Just Peace Advocates‘
The Letter Sent to United Nation Ambassadors
Dear United Nations Ambassadors,
As humanity reels from the Covid-19 pandemic, you will soon select the world’s representatives on the UN’s highest decision-making body. As organizations and individuals advocating in Canada and elsewhere for a just peace in Palestine / Israel, we respectfully ask you to reject Canada’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.
As you choose seats on the Security Council between the bids of Canada, Ireland and Norway for the two Western Europe and Other States, the UN’s historic contribution to Palestinian dispossession and responsibility to protect their rights must be front of mind. In these uncertain times, Palestinians are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 due to Israel’s military occupation and violations of UN resolutions.
The Canadian government for at least a decade and a half has consistently isolated itself against world opinion on Palestinian rights at the UN. Since coming to power – after the dubious record of the Harper government – the Trudeau government has voted against more than fifty UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights that were backed by the overwhelming majority of member states. Continuing this pattern, Canada “sided with Israel by voting No” on most UN votes on the Question of Palestine in December. Three of these were Canada’s votes on Palestinian Refugees, on UNRWA and on illegal settlements, each distinguishing Canada as in direct opposition to the “Yes” votes of Ireland and Norway.
The Canadian government has refused to abide by 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334, calling on member states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied in 1967.” On the contrary, Ottawa extends economic and trade assistance to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.
Canada has repeatedly sided with Israel. Ottawa justified Israel’s killing of “Great March of Return” protesters in Gaza and has sought to deter the International Criminal Court from investigating Israeli war crimes. In fact, Canada’s foreign affairs minister announced that should it win a seat on the UNSC, it would act as an “asset for Israel” on the Council.
When deciding who represents the international community on the UN’s highest decision-making body, we urge you to consider the UN-established rights of the long-suffering Palestinians, and to vote for Ireland and Norway, which have better records on the matter than Canada .
Actions you can take
Check out more detail in regard to # NoUNSC4Canada